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French vote for Macron, Le Pen shuts out mainstream politics
June 23 2017, 03:40 | Irvin Gilbert
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They will contest the run-off on May 7.
"The challenge is to break completely with the system which has been unable to find solutions to the problems of our country for more than 30 years", Macron said, already eyeing crucial parliamentary elections in June.
German chancellor Angela Merkel also wished Mr Macron "all the best for the next two weeks".
Jean-Marie Le Pen was ultimately crushed when voters from right and left rallied around the conservative Jacques Chirac in order to keep out a party whose far-right, anti-immigrant views they considered unpalatably xenophobic.
Le Pen, the 48-year-old leader of the National Front (FN), hopes to capitalise on security fears that were catapulted to the fore of the campaign after the fatal shooting of a policeman on Paris's Champs Elysees avenue claimed by the Islamic State group. "I want to talk to all citizens in France".
He told media that he initially voted for Mélenchon, but would now switch his vote to pro-globalist candidate Macron in the second round of the French presidential elections on 7 May.
Olivier Duhamel, a political scientist at Sciences Po Paris, one of France's top universities, said the fact that someone with so little experience came out on top today was stunning.
"Macron, Le Pen, all the same", he said.
"You have the matter of someone who is a progressive person, who believes in democracy, against the far right", she said.
Emmanuel Macron's win appeared to cure those jitters: The euro surged to a five-month high in the wake of the result.
The election result saw the euro briefly touch US$1.0940, the highest since November, and Reuters reported opinion polls put Macron ahead by more than 20 points, a lead so large that a repeat of Brexit is seen as highly unlikely.
USA investors are also gearing up for the busiest earnings week in at least a decade, with over 190 S&P 500 members, including heavyweights Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) due to report results.
Le Pen, far more than Macron, tapped into French fury with the status quo. Police made at least 29 arrests, according to broadcaster BFMTV, after clashes erupted on the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris on Sunday.
Protesters waved red flags and sang "No Marine and No Macron!" in anger at the results of the first-round election.
Macron first sought a debate with Le Pen in February "which she refused".
"I think that the success - even if it's just the first round now - of Macron is also a good indication there are still very powerful forces in French society".
The two candidates will head to a runoff on May 7, according to nearly complete results.
Meanwhile, Eurosceptic French nationalist Marine Le Pen also had reason to celebrate. A snap Ipsos survey late on Sunday suggested he'd win by 62 percent to 38 percent for Le Pen.
Pro-European Mr Macron was the Socialist finance minister until the autumn, when he quit to set up the En Marche movement, which he defines as centrist, and which has attracted support from left, centre and right.
Irish shares soared to within a whisker of levels not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis, as European equities and the value of the euro jumped after the centrist candidate won the first round of the French presidential election, reducing the risk of an anti-establishment shock in the final round.
The Socialist Party's candidate, Benoît Hamon secured just 5.9% of the vote, with 75% of polling stations' results in.
Valls said: "We are in a phase of decomposition, demolition, deconstruction".
German govt spokesperson Seibert said it was good that Macron, who focused on strong European Union and social market economy, won.
First, Germany's Alternative für Deutschland was thrust into disarray after a party congress rejected an attempt by leader Frauke Petry to steer the party away from the extreme right. Both have conceded but only Fillon called for voters to rally around Macron to prevent a National Front candidate from becoming president.